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With another body found on East Side, more worry about crime

A 23-year-old man appears to be the latest homicide victim in Buffalo, found dead shortly after midnight Sunday on an East Side street marred by vacant homes and empty lots.

Police are awaiting autopsy results to determine how Dawud Lawson died, but say drugs appear to have been involved. “It looks like it was a drug deal gone bad,” a police source said today. “The individual was believed to be dealing drugs.”

Detectives reportedly looked for bullet casings after finding the body shortly before 12:30 a.m.

The body was found on a lawn in the 300 block of Box Avenue, between Kehr and Moselle streets, near a livery vehicle. Police did not release the identity of the victim or any other information on the case.

By late Sunday morning, with police having left the site, the only obvious physical remnant of the life lost was a pile of yellow crime scene tape on the ground.

Several residents of Box Avenue heard the police sirens and saw the flashing lights after midnight but said that such commotion is frequent enough on their street that they sometimes don’t pay much attention. Residents said that they didn’t know exactly what happened but that they are reasonably certain that whoever was found dead was not from Box Avenue.

“Everyone here sticks together,” said Kevin Johnson, 55, of Box Avenue, who was sitting on his front porch. “If it was someone from around here, we would know about it. The phones would be ringing.”

Box Avenue is mostly run-down, with a few well-kept homes interspersed among the many empty lots, and vacant and dilapidated houses.

There is crime on Box Avenue, as there is everywhere, residents said. There’s also, they said, a heavy police presence, sometimes to the point that some residents feel they can’t go about their daily routines without being stopped and questioned by officers.

This latest apparent homicide came five days after two teenagers were killed in separate incidents in Buffalo.

Raymond Patterson, 14, was fatally shot Tuesday allegedly by a 28-year-old man who fired into a crowd near the Kenfield-Langfield housing complex, killing Raymond and wounding three other teens. The shooting was tied to a fight in Roosevelt Park that the victim had nothing to do with.

Later that night, in an unrelated incident, two 17-year-olds walking past a drug house in the Bailey-Kensington neighborhood were shot, one fatally.

Crime on Box Avenue, as in other parts of the city, Johnson and his neighbors said, likely reflects a lack of jobs and a hopelessness among young people who turn to drugs.

“These kids are no different than any kids,” Johnson said, as a neighbor who stopped by nodded in agreement. “Give them jobs, something to look forward to. Get rid of the guns.”

“It’s time everyone works together,” he added before saying: “Until a rich person’s kid is found on the street, nothing will be done about it.”